John C. Kissel, PhD, MS

Professor Emeritus, Env. and Occ. Health Sciences (Primary department)
Dr. Kissel is an environmental engineer whose research focuses on human exposure to environmental contaminants. He is a former President and Councilor of the International Society of Exposure Science (ISES) and former chair of the Exposure Assessment Specialty Group of the Society for Risk Analysis. He is currently a member of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chemical Safety Advisory Committee (CSAC) and has previously served on multiple EPA panels including the FIFRA Science Advisory Panel and the Human Studies Review Board. He has also served on two National Academy of Sciences committees. Dr. Kissel has conducted research funded by US EPA, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Washington Department of Labor and Industries.

Contact Information

Office: Suite 100
Box: 354695
4225 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle, WA 98195-6099
Tel: 206-543-5111
Tel: 206-543-3364

Research Interests

  • Human exposure assessment, dermal exposure and absorption, risk assessment, hazardous waste management, soil cleanup, water quality
  • KEYWORDS: Aggregate exposure, Biomarkers, Children's health; Consumer products; Dermal exposure; Exposure models; Hazardous waste; Indoor environment; Pesticides; Quantitative microbial risk assessment; Reentry standards; Soil contamination; Soil sampling; Solid waste; Superfund sites; Water supply and sanitation

Teaching interests

Hazardous Waste and Public Health (ENVH 446/590B); Probabilistic Exposure Assessment (ENVH 574), Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (ENVH 543).


PhD, Civil Engineering, Stanford University, 1985
MS, Environmental Engineering, Harvard University, 1974


Dr. Kissel has a history of research related to human exposure to environmental contaminants. One aspect of this work involves characterization of human dermal contact with soils and sediments. Results of those studies have been incorporated directly into EPA guidance documents, such as the Exposure Factors Handbook, that are used by persons involved in cleanup of Superfund sites or other contaminated lands. Dr. Kissel and his students have also investigated the efficiency of dermal absorption of contaminants from environmental matrices and of skin decontamination by washing. A second research focus area is evaluation of the predictive capability of regulatory exposure models. Particular applications include occupational exposure to pesticides and indoor residential exposure to chemicals found in commercial products. Current activity includes investigation of mitigation of firefighter exposure to carcinogenic PAHs.
Selected Publications

Kissel JC. 2011. The mismeasure of dermal absorption. J Expos Sci Environ Epid. 21(3):302-9.

Bergstrom CM*, Shirai JH, Kissel JC. 2011. Particle size distributions, size concentration relationships, and adherence to hands of selected geologic media derived from mining, smelting, and quarrying activities. Sci Tot Environ 409(20):4247-4256.

Frasch HF, Dotson G, Bunge A, Chen C-P, Cherrie J, Kasting G, Kissel J, Sahmel J, Semple S, Wilkinson S.  2014. Analysis of Finite Dose Dermal Absorption Data: Implications for Dermal Exposure Assessment. J Expos Sci Environ Epid 24(1):65-73.

Ruby M, Lowney Y, Bunge AL, Roberts S, Gomez-Eyles J, Ghosh U, Kissel J, Tomlinson P, Menzie C. Oral Bioavailability and Dermal Absorption of PAHs from Soil — State of the Science. In press. Environ Sci & Technol.

Van Abel, NA, Shao J, Sampson, Schoen ME, Kissel JC, Meschke JS. Comparison of Risk Predicted by Multiple Norovirus Dose-Response Models and Implications for Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment. In press, Risk Analysis.

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